A family member has a 2002 Subaru Outback. Possible blown head gasket per dealership. Should we just get rid of it or fix it? I feel the car had problems when we bought it a couple years ago due to dishonest salesperson. I hate to keep putting money into it. It seems to use a lot of oil also.

Fix it then sell? Or just get rid of it?

It’s a 13 year old car. Dump it

If it’s in fair shape body wise, you could donate it. Many areas have programs through local churches, schools, and civic organizations, that will take cars like this and fix them for people in need or to resell and use the money for other projects, and you get a receipt so you can use the deduction on your taxes.

We used to have one through a home for troubled youth. The kids learned a trade (how to fix car rather than steal it) and the cars were sold to pay for the program.


You state you bought the vehicle a couple of years ago which I take to mean 2, maybe 3 tops.
That means you bought a 12 year old used vehicle and any 12 year old used car can have issues.

It’s not different than buying a 12 year old lawn tractor and expecting perfection.

I’m not a fan of the word “blown” when referring to head gaskets. If that word is applicable then that usually means the engine was severely overheated and a head gasket, or both of them, gave up.
You state it uses a lot of oil and combining that with any head gasket issue I’d say it’s time to get rid of it.

If you like it otherwise, I expect the head gasket problem can be easily fixed. It’s just a gasket after all. The cost is mostly hourly, for the mechanic’s time to take things apart, put them back together, plus there may be some machine shop work needed. The oil issue needs a little more clarification. It might just be the valve stem seals for example, which the parts aren’t that expensive could be easily replaced when the head it out. How much oil does it use per 1000 miles. Any signs of oil leaks? What other problems has have you experienced? If you search this forum for Subaru head gasket I expect you’ll find a few threads on the topic, maybe read those too for reference.

Call around to Subaru dealers and independent Subaru shops in your area and find out how much $$ to fix. This is a very common problem with these engines, so I wouldn’t have a problem doing the repair if the rest of the vehicle is in decent shape, assuming the cost is OK.

If you were local I would BE HAPPY to take it off of your hands for some financial gain on your part. You live near Philly?

These vehicles are VERY VERY WELL KNOWN for Head Gasket Failures…I believe there is a class action lawsuit against Subaru for this reason. It was found to be a faulty Head Gasket design and I believe one other item that is eluding me currently. Whenever I go to buy a Subaru Head Gasket they always make a big deal to let me know that this is the UPDATED PART NUMBER. Because this issue has become something of a VERY HOT TOPIC among Subafiles. Subaru SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THIS ISSUE…because they make a wonderful vehicle and engine…this head Gasket problem REALLY sullied their reliability reputation…all over something stupid. This issue has since been resolved. You can look it up…its all over the internet and Subaru forums.

If you were local I would be interested in ressurecting the poor thing…but…